Good afternoon! Our meeting with you at the end of the year has become a tradition. The year was saturated, fruitful. But today our communication is not a formal tribute to tradition. This is a real opportunity to discuss what has been done and what challenges lie ahead of us in the future.
Of course, the most important factor of life – political, economic, simply life of the citizens of Donetsk People’s Republic – is a war. We are at war, and it is reflected in all spheres of our life.
I understand that we all aspire to the same goal – to create a strong, free state based on the principles of liberty, conscience, justice and equality. And we are able to do so. We have already demonstrated and proved it. But the war, unfortunately, prevents to realize all of our dreams and plans. In this case, the most important thing is do not give up and just work.
And in order to achieve our common objective, the people of Donetsk People’s Republic consolidated. It consolidated exactly around the meaning center, which is the foundation of our identity. We united around our traditional values.
History, memory, culture, religion, faith, language, awareness of our involvement in that huge and great concept that we call the Russian world, joined us. And I am grateful to my fellow countrymen – citizens of the Donetsk People’s Republic, you, the People’s Council deputies, the DPR’s government – for the unanimous support of our chosen path.
Today it is the consolidation of our society is, perhaps, the main vector of all our domestic policy. Yes, we are all different. But that is what we are proud of. For 20 years we have been tried to be depersonalize, devastated morally, combed with the same brush, made the faceless gray mass of.
We are different, and this is our strength. We have different views on a number of issues relating to politics, economics, law, tax system – all that makes the state viable and strong.
But there is one thing we agree with: Donetsk People’s Republic is a fait accompli. We survived, grew stronger and created our state is the force with which anyone cannot be reckoned with.
Today we are witnessing a huge upsurge of patriotism among our citizens. The building of the state involves people of different ages, with different education, different professions, with different backgrounds. Among the priorities, apart from military, I see the social development of our country. Unfortunately, during the years of the Ukrainian government in the Donbass this sector was not just pushed into the background. It’s actually destroyed.
These once very respected and honoured profession as a doctor, a teacher, an educator, a librarian became a symbol of poverty and disgrace. Today, in the Donetsk People’s Republic we apply great efforts to restore the prestige of these professions. Unfortunately, a lot has to do with a clean slate, it is also true, and you, MPs, know this perfectly well.
I consider the coming educational reform one of the most important measures in this direction. It includes both the increase in funding from the state of educational institutions, as well as significant changes in the essence of the educational process. You and I just need to rethink the whole system of education and values that we also need to convey to our children.
Today, the Republic needs not only professionals in all areas, we need professionals patriots, professionals who firmly believe in our cause, be passionate about this idea. Like our grandfathers and great-grandfathers, who restored the Motherland after the hard times of war, we are with you in no time must repeat their feat. For education of a generation of such professionals, I believe we need to most effectively learn from the Soviet Union’s educational system. Yes, taking into account new technologies, with the new reform, new methods, including informational, digital, and so on. But we must make our education so that it will allow us to ensure that our children would promptly change the situation that has developed over the past 20 years.
Also I think it is important for the entire Republic, for all the inhabitants of our country as soon as possible, but without loss of quality, to reform the medical system. Here, since the days of Ukraine, we also got a very sad legacy. We all know this well, too.
We must undertake a number of activities so that the most modern, efficient, quality and, where possible, free medical care was available to every citizen of our country. Of course, in one day it cannot be done. We need coordinated work of many people. And we have such people.
In this regard, maximum attention should also be paid to the fight against corruption both in the field and in all executive authorities, ministries and departments of the Donetsk People’s Republic, everywhere. It is important to eradicate this hydra. It, like a terrifying serpent, crawled into practice for 20 years, and the Ukrainian government, unfortunately, nourished and cherished this hydra. Our task is to drive it into the swamp from which it crawled out, and if necessary even to throw it to the other side of the frontline.
The high level of corruption is the source of many troubles, failures, inefficiency of entire industries and the economy, and the fight against it is one of the most important tasks of the government. At the same time lawmakers, you, dear deputies, you can take part in this struggle. After all, our entire life and levels of crime, including corruption depends on the most efficient, transparent, and, most importantly, fair laws. After all, corruption has a huge impact on the economy, which because of the war and the blockade still cannot stand up here. Of course, we have successes in the economy. But we could have achieved this success even faster.
No economy can develop without investments. Yes, we all understand that when the war ends, the investment will flood in our economy like an avalanche, but by that time we’ll have to be ready. And you, as MPs, and as the government, and as ordinary citizens of the Donetsk People’s Republic. So that the investment that will go to us, in our economy, be safely protected, including from corruption, from any arbitrariness of bureaucratic and generally any other authority. But in the matter of investments we already have positive aspects. A number of investors from Russia, South Ossetia and Abkhazia are ready to invest in our manufacturing and agriculture. There are some timid proposals from the European Union.
Here, dear deputies, it is important to remember that the war sooner or later will end with our victory. And I repeat: we have to do everything to create a favourable investment climate. What are the priorities for the investment which I see? First of all, we must continue to support our country’s traditional heavy industries – coal mining, metallurgy and machine-building. But it is also necessary to develop new directions. Do not focus all resources in one place.
For example, today agriculture is actively developing in the Donetsk People’s Republic. We are launching new livestock enterprises, has launched a horticulture development programme, hothouse development programme is in full swing. And I am sure that strong agriculture of the Donetsk People’s Republic in the long term will be able to not only be the industry that provides a 100% guaranteed food security of the country, but also the sector, which will fill the budget.
In this connection, I consider the development of mechanisms to stimulate local agricultural producers an important task of the nearest future. It is necessary to do the job of these people as comfortable as possible and maybe even introduce tax and other incentives for them.
We also have rapidly developing industrial sector, outlets. In today’s world, the development of economy and industry is a priority for both the government and the Legislative.
Tasks for the near future are to strengthen the economic integration with Russia. This is the main task, which I will actively discuss with you in the new 2017.
The integration with the Russian Federation will allow us not only as a state to enter the political and, most importantly, the new economic level of development, but also to restore the old ties that have been broken for 20 years. At the same time, we must fill these relations with new meaning. And our country’s potential in this area is huge.
Integration should be not only in economy but also in the cultural sphere. To do this, a lot of work is carried out. You are well aware of the arrival of creative teams from Russia to us and our representatives’ cultural trips to Russia. This process goes on, and it is irreversible. I am confident that 2017 will show good results in this direction. And you and I already in 2018 shall set before us other objectives, even more ambitious and grandiose.
Dear friends, colleagues, elected officials, do not forget – our struggle is still going on. Donetsk People’s Republic is in the beginning of a long and difficult road to freedom and prosperity. But many have no doubt that we’ll win, even our enemies. They feel our victory, they see, but do not want to admit it. Our challenge with you for the near future is to do so that this victory was clearly visible not only to us, those who have no doubts about it, but also to those with whom we are fighting. When we’ll do it, we will be proud. And one day we’ll together say: we were here, we did it.
Dear colleagues! Thank you, I was glad to see you all.
Alexander Zakharchenko, the Head of the Donetsk People’s Republic,
The Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Donetsk People’s Republic